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“Parasite” Is A Perfect Film From A Master In Bong Joon Ho

Cinematic perfection doesn’t come around often. When it does, it’s essentially to take notice. Parasite, from top to bottom, is a perfect film. This goes beyond Academy Awards, for which the movie will be nominated for several (and likely win at least one), but to just the mastery at hand from its maestro. Bong Joon Ho is working on a whole other level here, crafting an equally angry, fun, and unexpected flick that constantly evolves. This is easily one of the crowning works of 2019, without question. Winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival was just the start. Whatever hype you’ve heard about this one, trust me when I say it’s even better than that.

The movie is almost every genre, depending on the moment. It defies easy definition, in the best way possible. Frankly, the less you know about it, the better, but I will set the stage a bit. Two families, the smart yet poor Kim family, and the Park family, loaded with money, but maybe not as rich in brains. When the Parks hire one of the Kims (Choi Woo Sik), a door is opened. Soon, the other members of the Kim brood (Song Kang Ho, Park So Dam, and Chang Hyae Jin) are entangled as well, earning the trust of the Park family (Lee Sun Kyun and Jo Yeo-jeong). A deeply symbiotic relationship forms between the two families, though the parasitic nature of the dynamic is threatened when another similar element is introduced. To say more would spoil some delicious surprises. Bong Joon Ho directs and co-writes with Han Jin-won. Supporting players include Lee Jeong-eun, Park Seo-joon, Jung Ji-so, Jung Hyun-jun, and more. Hong Kyung-pyo handles the cinematography, while Jung Jaeil composes the score. Everyone is working in perfect harmony together, from the writing and direction, down to the cinematography, editing, and score, and that doesn’t even take into account these performances, which are all wonderful.

It’s astounding how amazing this film is. There’s tremendous humor, dark explorations of social issues, a turn towards horror, and a genuine sense of twisted play on the part of the director. He’s turning the screws with absolute precision. When the big change in tone occurs about midway through, it’s both wholly unexpected and also obvious. Again, it goes back to what a magician Bong Joon Ho is. With brilliant pacing, a keen sense of when to ramp up or slow things down, and a well earned ending, not a frame of film is wasted. It’s truly a masterpiece. If it sounds like I’m still being vague, it’s just to further entice you to see this one. It’s magic.

Oscar is going to come calling for Parasite, that much is certain. Look for Neon to launch an across the board campaign, and rightly so. They have a legitimate Best Picture contender on their hands, while Bong Joon Ho is a threat to win Best Director. It’s also essentially a lock to take the Best International Feature category. We could be seeing a Roma like response from the Academy here. It’s an edgier film, but arguably a much more crowd pleasing one. The possibilities really are endless for a staggering achievement like this one. Just know that voters are definitely going to embrace it. We only have to wait and see to what degree the embrace happens.

Starting later today/tomorrow, the general public can finally see what all the fuss is about, when Parasite opens in theaters. Run, don’t walk, to wherever this is playing. It’s unquestionably one of the best films of the year, operating in the stratosphere of where the art form can go. Whatever you’ve heard about this one, you’ve been undersold, somehow. Moreover, the less you know, the better. The surprises on hand are so tremendously effective and twisted, you should just give yourself over to a master conductor at work. There has never quite been a movie like this one, and cinema on the whole is better for its existence…

Be sure to check out Parasite, in theaters this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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